splitting hive myth
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  1. #1
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    Jun 2017
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    Default splitting hive myth

    I have seen on this web site (I think) that they recommend never splitting a hive within 300 yards of the original hive. Says the original bees may all go back to the original queen instead of staying with the brood and the new queen. Comments please. Is it fact of myth?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: splitting hive myth

    Bit of both.

    If making a split you got to be aware that bees that are foraging age have learned the location of their hive, and will return to that, unless moved far enough away. Bees that have not yet left the hive and not learned the location, will stay.

    The percentage mix of forager vs non forager bees will depend on season, and where in the hive you got them from. However as a general rule, you risk losing a lot of bees from a split if it is queenless, and you place it near the original hive. And then after that, other bad things can happen.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Woodbridge, VA (But planning to move to NW Louisiana soon)
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    Default Re: splitting hive myth

    I have minimal experience, but I have less space to work with. My funnest hive is on my deck, and I've made several splits from it, setting up the split just a few feet away also on the deck. No doubt some of the bees go back to the big hive, but my splits are mostly brood frames with nurse bees, and stores. There hasn't been a problem with too few bees left to tend the brood. I've done about 6 splits this way.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: splitting hive myth

    Quote Originally Posted by blk View Post
    I have seen on this web site (I think) that they recommend never splitting a hive within 300 yards of the original hive. Says the original bees may all go back to the original queen instead of staying with the brood and the new queen. Comments please. Is it fact of myth?
    Most of the older bees may go back but the younger ones will stay. Just put allmost all the brood frames and the attached bees and you will get a high percentage of young bees. There are many different ways of splitting. A 50 / 50 random split will wind up with fewer bees because of fly back but sometimes that is the desired result.

    Here is one split I did just in time. Placed it about three hives down. This uses the Taranov artificial swarm to collect almost all of the young bees and the queen. The mature bees wont swarm without a queen. Suitable for an imminent swarm and yields up the queen without having to hunt for her.
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    Last edited by crofter; 05-14-2019 at 05:52 PM. Reason: I see people were typing while I was playing with pics!
    Frank

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Clare, Michigan
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    235

    Default Re: splitting hive myth

    For me, my best split is where I leave the queen and a frame or 2 of open brood, the rest is drawn comb, at the original location with a queen excluder on top. Take all the rest of the brood and stack it on top of the queen excluder. In a few hours or over night move the boxes on top the queen excluder to a new location a few feet away and you have your split. Works great. It's just a vertical split, but works well. All the forgers will return to the original hive. Most all the nurse bees with stay with the split.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Skaneateles, NY
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    938

    Default Re: splitting hive myth

    Quote Originally Posted by blk View Post
    I have seen on this web site (I think) that they recommend never splitting a hive within 300 yards of the original hive. Says the original bees may all go back to the original queen instead of staying with the brood and the new queen. Comments please. Is it fact of myth?
    I have two properties but they are 90mins drive apart. I have to admit the VAST majority of the time i do a split and leave the nuc in the same yard.
    I will be making up 20 queenless splits on Friday afternoon and putting in capped queen cells in protector cages.
    Undoubtedly some of the bees will fly back to their original hive location but i have yet to have a split lose so many bees as to make it non viable.
    If you are worried about this put the split in the original hives location and move the hive somewhere else in the yard.
    I also tend to make very strong splits with 1 feed frame, 2 frames capped brood, 1 frame partial brood and an empty brood frame/foundation frame. I also usually give an extra shake or two of bees into each split.

    I guess if ur making really skinny splits the drift back may be a bigger issue.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Fultonville,New York,USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post

    Here is one split I did just in time. Placed it about three hives down. This uses the Taranov artificial swarm to collect almost all of the young bees and the queen. The mature bees wont swarm without a queen. Suitable for an imminent swarm and yields up the queen without having to hunt for her.
    So you are saying take the hive you intend to split put that queen into n a new box in a new location and shake a lot of bee’s in with her ? Let the parent colony make a new queen

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Hopkins, MI USA
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    915

    Default Re: splitting hive myth

    Quote Originally Posted by Sickdog5 View Post
    So you are saying take the hive you intend to split put that queen into n a new box in a new location and shake a lot of bee’s in with her ? Let the parent colony make a new queen
    That's the way I do it, the larger hive is stronger and will make a good queen and the queen right nuc will thrive because they have hatching bees and the queen continues to lay and add to the population without missing a beat.
    zone 5b
    Back in 2019!

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Randolph, New York
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    89

    Default Re: splitting hive myth

    Never had a problem doing a split and keeping it in the same yard.

  11. #10
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    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: splitting hive myth

    Robbing is the big problem not flyback. Young bees are poor guard bees.
    Old bees are great robbers. When the robber still smells like your nuc sister the nuc lets them in and you get an empty nuc, makes a poor queen.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: splitting hive myth

    Time of year plays a key roll too. Early on it's fine, but later in the season you can face a lot of difficulties.

  13. #12
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    Feb 2015
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    Idaho Falls, ID
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    Default Re: splitting hive myth

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    Time of year plays a key roll too. Early on it's fine, but later in the season you can face a lot of difficulties.
    Agreed. With all the fruit trees blooming here right now, the foragers don't have time to rob the little neighbor next to them.
    -- Joe
    "Make your own decision and embrace the consequences." -- jwcarlson

  14. #13
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    Jun 2016
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    Fultonville,New York,USA
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    Default Re: splitting hive myth

    I did a split today. How long does it take to see a queen cell in the parent colony I took the queen from?

  15. #14
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    May 2011
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: splitting hive myth

    I can only guess at all the factors the bees consider before they start cells. I have seen obvious cell construction on the first day and also not until the fourth day. Sometimes they wait till the last egg laid turns into a larvae. Sometimes they go to work immediately the queen is missed and build around a two day old larvae.

    If all old comb they may spend some time tearing down cell walls I suppose. Snelgrove observed that older workers seemed more prone than young bees to start cells on existing larvae. He suggested destroyin any cells capped at 4 days after dequeening. I have never found that to happen so I dont worry about it any more.
    Frank

  16. #15
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    May 2015
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    Skaneateles, NY
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    938

    Default Re: splitting hive myth

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    I can only guess at all the factors the bees consider before they start cells. I have seen obvious cell construction on the first day and also not until the fourth day. Sometimes they wait till the last egg laid turns into a larvae. Sometimes they go to work immediately the queen is missed and build around a two day old larvae.

    If all old comb they may spend some time tearing down cell walls I suppose. Snelgrove observed that older workers seemed more prone than young bees to start cells on existing larvae. He suggested destroyin any cells capped at 4 days after dequeening. I have never found that to happen so I dont worry about it any more.
    im working this weekend but i also have to create 33 splits tomorrow/saturday. I may try and experiment where i take half the splits away and leave half the splits in their original apiary and see what the success rates are. A lot of that depends on work lol

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    England, UK
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    1,432

    Default Re: splitting hive myth

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    Robbing is the big problem not flyback. Young bees are poor guard bees.
    Old bees are great robbers. When the robber still smells like your nuc sister the nuc lets them in and you get an empty nuc, makes a poor queen.
    That for me - working with one small yard - is a HUGE problem. Anti-robbing screens help, but if a nuc is made-up containing even one scout-forager (which becomes a scout-robber if there's a dearth on), then she'll get to know her way over that particular anti-robbing screen.

    One solution for this is to make-up a nuc and place it anywhere other than it's final stand. Let the foragers fly back, and only after a while place the nuc on it's final stand. Even that isn't a 100% cure, but it helps.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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